New, Promising Treatments – AF 219, LiRIS, AQX-1125, GM-0111, LP-08

Patients constantly ask “Is there anything new?” Yes, Virginia, IC research is alive and well with teams from around the world exploring new treatments. Here’s our review of the most promising projects in the IC Pipeline!

Afferent Pharmaceuticals AF-219

Afferent Pharmaceuticals is developing a potential new pain medication for interstitial cystitis by targeting the nerves which are responsible for the transmission of pain in the bladder as well as other visceral organs. AF-219 is a selective, non-narcotic and orally administered P2X3 antagonist that targets the mechanism by which certain nerve fibers become hyper-sensitized and can lead to chronic and debilitating symptoms in diverse conditions.

In February 2015, Afferent released encouraging results from a Phase II clinical trial which showed that the AF- 219 improved symptoms of pain and urgency in patients with moderate to severe IC. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial, patients were randomly assigned to either AF-219 or placebo treatment twice daily for four weeks, with AF-219 titrated from 50 mg to 300 mg in the first week and provided on a fixed-dose basis in weeks 2-4. Post-week 4, all patients were followed up for an additional two weeks.

Data from the study showed improvements in both pain and urinary urgency when compared to placebo. Safety and tolerability findings were similar between AF-219-treated patients and those receiving placebo, except that higher numbers of the AF- 219-treated patients experienced temporary changes in their sense of taste.

“Patients with IC/BPS often suffer debilitating symptoms that can interfere with daily commitments and social interactions,” commented Philip Hanno, M.D., lead clinical investigator in the IC/BPS study, and Professor of Urology in Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hanno continued, “I am excited to be able to report clear clinical benefit and encouraging results in both pain and urinary urgency in this phase 2 IC/BPS trial. I look forward to further studies being planned in the future.”

One clear advantage of this medication is the lack of side effects caused by other pain medications, particularly drowsiness, brain fog and fatigue. Anthony Ford, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Afferent Pharmaceuticals, stated, “A key advantage of our approach is that the target P2X3 receptors have limited distribution beyond sensory nerves and no significant expression in the higher centers of the brain. AF-219 offers an alternative approach that we believe can limit the serious CNS side effects associated with many pain and urological treatments.” This marks nine clinical trials for this medication for IC, chronic cough and patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis associated cough and breathlessness.

Source: Afferent Clinical Data for Lead Candidate, AF-219, Demonstrate Improvements in Pain and Urinary Urgency in Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS). February 2015. Press Release

Allergan, Inc. LiRIS®

We’ve written about LiRIS® extensively in the past few years. Originally developed by Taris BioMedical, LiRIS® is a drug-device combination placed in the bladder for a two week period where it gradually releases lidocaine. Originally developed for the treatment of bladder pain, early research studies also found that LiRIS treatment healed some but not all Hunner’s Lesions. This represents a remarkable breakthrough in the treatment of what has been considered the most severe form of interstitial cystitis.

Allergan purchased LiRIS® from Taris in 2014. “Allergan has a longstanding history of delivering stockholder value by developing innovative medical treatments that address unmet medical needs,” said David E.I. Pyott, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Allergan. “Our work to develop BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA) as a second-line treatment for overactive bladder (OAB) has made a significant difference for patients who suffer from this chronic condition. The acquisition of LiRIS® is an important addition to our growing urology pipeline and, if approved, will provide a local treatment for interstitial cystitis/ bladder pain syndrome, which is a debilitating bladder condition.”

Allergan is still seeking patients for their LiRIS/LiNKA Hunner’s lesion study. Click here for more information!

Source: Allergan Acquires LiRIS Program from TARIS Biomedical. Joint Press Release. August 13, 2014 –

GlycoMira Therapeutics GM-0111 and GM-1111

GlycoMira Therapeutics Inc. is a startup biotechnology company operating in the University of Utah Research Park. The company is focused on developing novel anti-inflammatory drugs based on glycobiology for applications in oral and urological health.  They began their work with interstitial cystitis after receiving a Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grant from the NIDDK in 2011 to study bladder inflammation and to develop a new treatment using semisynthetic glycosaminoglycan ethers (SAGEs). Glycosaminoglycans play an essential role in the construction of the bladder lining. Other GAG therapies currently in use for IC include heparin and chondroitin sulfate bladder instillations.

GlycoMira has developed two new medications, GM-0111 AND GM- 1111, which coat mucosal tissues and blocks multiple factors involved in inflammation. Collaborating urologist at the University of Utah, Dr. Siam Oottamasathien shared “The instillation of SAGEs has the potential to increase efficacy as well as reduce cost and side effects for women that are regularly catheterized with approved heparin or hyaluronic acid solutions,” said Dr. Oottamasthien. “Our ultimate goal to gain a better understanding of bladder inflammatory pathogenesis, and to provide a safe and effective new treatment for the many patients who suffer from PBS/IC.”

Dr. Oottamasathien’s research team has